School Board looks into giving district employees appreciation paycheck due to Covid

Discuss giving faculty and staff an extra paycheck in appreciation of their work during Covid. School Board member Tankeia Palmer added this item to the agenda because she thought that this would be a great way to show appreciation to our employees for all the hard work and perseverance they have put in this school year.

Employees enter into buildings on a daily basis where the ventilation is not that good and they are interacting with a lot of people in a day’s time. The PPE hasn’t been 100% effective and being in close contact with others in an environment where you can’t detect where Covid might be lingering has got to be mentally physically and emotionally draining. They are not only thinking about themselves but the students, other staff, and their own children and family members. It’s like they’ve been thrown on a battlefield on a daily basis. Palmer feels they deserve a monetary appreciation for enduring. She added that if anyone feels or thinks they are sufficient with their salaries bonuses and MFP stipend you’re sadly mistaken in a pandemic or not, the school district should always if it financially can, show them its appreciation for their service. It was mentioned that there may be stipulations on the Covid relief money but Palmer said the teachers are listening to the board and they see more employees being hired for different positions and it’s discouraging because the district is getting money, but it’s not fair because the district should find a way to give them something.

Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi said other districts have already put this out there and that some of them saw an increase in tax revenue, which the Natchitoches Parish School District has also seen, but many of these districts don’t give out all their tax revenue. The NPSB gives out all that sales tax because it’s seen really big checks this year at Christmas and the district is anticipating that it will see that again in July. This means some of the other districts did not see the MFP shortage the NPSB saw, but the district has been looking at the ESSER II Federal funds.

Eloi has been in discussions with lawyers because there are some areas that say that stipends can be paid for Covid preparedness. So the district is looking for a mechanism in order to give a stipend to all employees. There’s a legal delineation between what Palmer suggested and what the district can do. It’s not allowed to give payment for work already produced. Eloi asked Palmer to give them the month of April to fully investigate and fully flesh out what they would like to do is look at a possible training module about Covid preparedness that everyone in the district would take after hours. It would be simply viewing a video and doing some training. They would log in for that for a time period and then they would receive a stipend. Eloi said they’re not sure what that dollar amount is yet, but it would be a flat amount to everyone.

“It would be a way to say we’re preparing for Covid and also an alternative means of showing appreciation while not doing it in a way that would put us in a bind with the legislative auditor,” Eloi said.

Eloi added that there is a group he’d like to look at to receive extra training because they were doing things during the true shutdown.

This would give employees a possible June payout so they have the entire month of May into a little bit of June to take this training and Eloi said he loves the timing because that would give employees a possible stipend in June and their tax check in July.

10 thoughts on “School Board looks into giving district employees appreciation paycheck due to Covid

  1. Remember money makes everything better! Ask the question how many of the ones wanting more money are actually certified not just graduated. The passionate teachers are being pushed out the system by those that just want a check. So spend the money where it’s needed. Roads, pay down debt or academic infrastructure not athletic.

  2. Yes if the teaching career field fell into the real world. That’s the place where you earned your raises and don’t understand the use of tenure. For those of you that don’t understand tenure it’s where once you skate by for a few years you can’t be fired for not doing your job.

  3. Prudent board members would realize hard times are coming. Nation wide tax increases, illegal aliens streaming into our country, abandonment of our energy sources, and unemployment climbing should cause board members to set aside extra money. Teachers have not worked a normal year this year. A raise is not needed. If all our schools were A schools, then maybe. But four are still F schools. A budget of $67,000,000.00 with no results. Positive talk, teacher raises and a new high school will not turn this around.

  4. I disagree with your words,”the months they didn’t teach”. That is much too broad an assumption. There were many teachers who readjusted their teaching to incorporate virtual lessons for their students. This involved hours of searching available sites to select appropriate lessons for the different ability levels within their classes. The challenges these teachers faced were monumental from not only prepping new material, but also overseeing the students’ questions at all hours and striving to motivate students from a “distance”.

    • Saying that teachers have had to adjust their methods and means to accommodate Covid as a reason to pay more is totally out of touch with how the real world operates. Most professionals are constantly adjusting their work methods and plans in reaction to outside forces all without an increase in pay. To say that somehow the employees of this business are due more because of unforeseen events is ludicrous.

      How about using what is our tax money in the first place to retire some of the school system debt? In light of the possible tax increase coming for a new high school that sure would play a lot better with taxpayers funding this business. Sadly, the truth of the matter is exposed every time a little “extra” money comes our way and SB members want to pay employees with it instead of using it to relieve the burden on those of us paying the freight. But hey I understand that it feels good to give out money rather than really manage the business.

        • And how does that have anything to do with my original post? Everyone holding a job thinks they’re underpaid for what they do. Research may show that there is a pay issue but as long as there are those willing to do the job for the current pay then that determines the true market value of the labor commodity not a study. And that is how the business world operates and so should the education business. Now that your previous reason has been dashed, is that all you have as justification for being given a gift for doing what teachers should be doing anyway?

          By the way last time I researched the issue, teachers in Natchitoches Parish had pay rates that were in the top third in the State.

        • Compare the days teachers work to the days people work in other professions. Maybe not so under paid.

  5. It’s amazing. One day it’s a new school the next day it’s giving teachers and staff stipends for doing their job during Covid. I guess the months they didn’t teach and still got paid doesn’t count. They have money to get rid of but to redirect it into pay they have to adjust wording so that it isn’t illegal. Why don’t they adjust the wording so that they can spend it on roads to benefit the buses. Just wondering.

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